Loyalty – Thick as Blood!

Because I’m in tech, I always think of customer loyalty in terms of hardware or software or some sort of technology based loyalty.  I saw this article on the Stanford Blood Center Website when I was scheduling an appointment and it made me smile. 

Two great things about this story – besides obviously the unselfish giving of the folks named – are that the Stanford Blood Center 1) publicly acknowledged  those whom have gone out of their way to donate and 2) have made a point of thanking them. It’s the small things like the two just mentioned that can motivate people and keep them coming back.   

Congratulations Stanford Blood Center for getting customer loyalty right!

The following article appeared in the San Jose Mercury News on November 2, 2008.

Stanford honors blood donors; Woodside man has given 580 times
By Lisa Fernandez and Mark Gomez

Lots of folks volunteer at their kids’ school or their church. It’s not even unusual to donate blood as a way to give back to the community.

But 580 times?

Meet Richard Tagg of Woodside, überdonor at the Stanford Blood Center.

“I do it because it needs to be done,” said the 80-year-old retired geologist, who gave his first drop of Type A-positive blood 30 years ago after reading an article about children with leukemia. His wife, Barbara, donates her Type O-negative blood, regularly too.

“I’ll be 81 in January,” said Tagg, who donates platelets 24 times a year, or about every other week. “And we’ll just go on and on until our blood doesn’t look good enough.”

Tagg, the blood center’s top donor, and 399 others were recognized Thursday at a luncheon to honor donors who have given blood more than 100 times. Forty-one of those honorees were new this year, said Stanford Blood Center spokeswoman Michele Hyndman.

Last year, the blood center collected 55,000 units of both blood and platelets.

“We continue to increase collection each year,” Hyndman said. “But the hospitals continue to outpace us in usage.”

Currently, the blood center has enough Type AB-positive blood, but is below minimum inventory in the remaining seven blood types. The center is especially low on Type O.

The shortages are why the blood center staff is so thankful to its volunteers.

“They are literally the patients’ lifeline,” Hyndman said. “Their dedication is remarkable. Their commitment of helping other people is inspirational.”

Tami Turner, 51, of Redwood City has donated to Stanford at least 193 times, and said she considers herself “blessed” that her platelet count is so high. She’s able to fill two or three bags at a time, instead of the usual single amount.

Her father, Roger, who died of a heart attack in 1985, was her role model.

“He would be on call, and I remember they would call him in the middle of the night to give blood and he’d just go,” she said. “I realized when he died that there is this whole generation of donors who are dying and there’s no one replacing them.”

Dennis Briskin of Palo Alto gives platelets every two weeks, the maximum donation people can safely make in a year, which helped him bump his blood donation number to 258 over the last 29 years. The 63-year-old marketing writer first gave blood in the 1960s as a way to earn $20 here and there as a financially struggling college student.

Now, he does it for free as a way to honor his Jewish traditions. The ultimate form of charity in Judaism is to save a life. And sticking a needle in his arm, even if it feels like a “warm knife slicing butter,” is worth it, knowing that he’s helping save strangers’ lives.

“And sometimes it’s more painful than that,” Briskin said. “But what I experience as a donor is trivial to what patients go through. When I think of what people spend their time on, shopping at the mall or watching ‘American Idol,’ giving blood is so much more important and just takes an hour or two.”


IF YOU’RE INTERESTED in donating blood to the Stanford Blood Center, call (650) 723-7831 or (888) 723-7831 to make an appointment. To schedule online, click on bloodcenter.stanford.edu


2 Responses

  1. We love our blood donors, and could never do enough to thank them for the service they’re providing our community. It’s amazing the healing power of human biology. Thanks for your kind words!

    Brooke Krannich
    Community Relations, Stanford Blood Center

  2. […] Maeve Naughton wrote an interesting post today onLoyalty – Thick as Blood! « Customer Reference ProgramsHere’s a quick excerptThis entry was posted on December 9, 2008 at 8:33 pm and is filed under customer loyalty, customer references, customer satisfaction, marketing, reference program. Tagged: blood donation, loyalty, San Jose Mercury News, Stanford Blood … […]

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